Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


My kids are sponges.  Maybe all kids are.  But I’m acutely aware of my own.

They soak up everything around them and everything I do. They watch me on my phone. They watch me drive.  They watch me talk.  They watch me fart.  They watch everything.

Today I took two of my boys to our weekly one-on-one java chat.  TJ before and Tyler after school.  They both had questions and in the process, reminded me… they are soaking up so much.  They are sponges.

TJ:  He gets a propel water and a breakfast bagel sandwich from the local cafe owner in our community, “Joe”.  I get a hazelnut americano.

Today he asked me, “Are there still Christian Martyrs today?”  

He had read a story about one and it got him thinking.  I said yes and we talked about the blessings of living with religious freedom and how even Christians have been guilty of martyring their “religious enemies” throughout history.  I loved talking life, faith, doubt, and pain with TJ as he wrestles with making faith his own.  I love that he is asking “adult questions” now.

He’s a sponge.

TYLER:  We always go out after school.  He gets a vanilla chai latte. I again, get a hazelnut americano.  Sometimes we grab a treat. Then we chat.

The first time we met this year, I asked him, “So, what do you want to know?”

He said, “What do you mean?”

I said, “Well, if we’re gonna meet, then you have to come with 1 or 2 questions you want to know each week.  You can ask me anything, but you have to have a question or two.”  I was half joking.  (TJ doesn’t always have one.)

Tyler was not joking.  Ever since then he has brought a question or two to every convo.  Sometimes it’s simple: “What’s your favorite color?” Sometimes it’s silly, “Would you rather pee out your eye or poop out your nose?”

Today he had 3 questions.  They were so sweet they made me want to freeze him at this stage of life.

We’ve been reading some books together written by a couple of friends of mine for middle school students.  I decided to get a jump on the middle school years and dive in early in the intentional convo process.  So, first he read “My Friends“.  Today we started, “My Faith“.

I asked him what questions he had today.  He had written two down on a note pad I had given him and he asked me a third our way home.

1. “Dad, If a friend of mine offers to do something for me and I let them, does that mean I’m using them?”  

He read in the friends book that using your friends was bad and he didn’t want to do it.  He said last week a friend offered to staple some papers for him in class and he let his friend do that.  He wanted to know if that meant he was using his friends.  We talked and decided that he was not and clarified what it meant if he was.

2. “How do you tell your friends about God?”

Here, he had invited some friends to church.  They said they didn’t want to come cuz it was boring and a waste of time.  He told them that his church was not and why.  His friends still told him it sounded boring.  He was kinda hurt. We talked it through.  The question by itself blessed me.

3. “Why do you take your foot off the gas when you shift the car gears?”  

I told you he was watching everything!!!


My kids are sponges.

Oh Lord, give me grace. Surely I’m screwing this parenting thing up- especially if they are watching EVERYTHING I do.  I’m just not that holy.  Dang.  I need some serious prayer.


  1. Hey Brian! I also do a lot of one-on-one with my daughters, but you have inspired some ideas in me through your sharing. Thanks!

  2. Brian, my daughter just turned two this past Valentine’s Day and I have started doing one-on-ones with her. I’ve actually been looking forward to these times since I read this blog entry so many years ago, and I encourage all the dads I know to do this with their kids. I know I don’t leave many comments, but I know you’ve blessed many more than you probably know. Thanks for this tip; my relationship with my daughter is better for it.

    • thanks Kevin. Seriously, these comments are worth more than the post itself. I’m blessed every time I hear of how a tweet, a pic, a chapter in Crazy House or a post like this inspires a parent to meet one-on-one with their kid. By far.. the best parenting decision I’ve made. With you in this.

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